Illinois College and Work Readiness Partnership Presentation on Alignment and Data Illinois Board of Higher Education August 14, 2007 Elliot Regenstein Jonathan Furr Holland & Knight LLP Michael Cohen Achieve, Inc.
Introduction • Purpose of Presentation • Process to Date • Background on State Policy • Summary of Findings • Discussion of Alignment in Illinois • Discussion of Creating a High Quality State Education Data System in Illinois • Recommendations for Next Steps
Purpose • Our goal at this time is to provide a preliminary review of the extent to which Illinois policies are aligned with college and work expectations, particularly with regard to standards, data systems, and interventions in underperforming schools and districts, and to provide the state with options for discussion and action. • In this presentation, we will focus on the (1) alignment of standards, curriculum implementation, assessments, and accountability to ensure college and workforce readiness, and (2) effective state education data systems. In both instances, we will focus on the implications of these issue areas for higher education.
Process • As part of our initial review, we have reviewed national and Illinois resources, coordinated with national experts, and met with many leaders in Illinois government and advocacy, including representatives of: Office of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich Office of Senate President Emil Jones, Jr. Office of Senate Minority Leader Frank C. Watson Office of Speaker Michael J. Madigan Office of House Minority Leader Tom Cross Illinois State Board of Education (State Superintendent Dr. Christopher Koch, Assistant Superintendent Ginger Reynolds, General Counsel Darren Reisberg, Chief Financial Officer Linda Mitchell, Division Administrators Connie Wise and Terry Chamberlain) Coalition for Illinois High Schools Illinois Association of School Boards Illinois Association of School Administrators Illinois Education Association Illinois Federation of Teachers Ed-Red SCOPE LEND Illinois Business Roundtable ACT Data Quality Campaign and Managing Partners Council of Chief State School Officers Special thanks to the Illinois Education Research Council, ACT, the Illinois Learning Standards Implementation Study at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and the Illinois Community College Board for providing materials specifically for use in this presentation.
Background The Vital Role of State Policy • Building the education systems states need for the 21st century will require fundamental change, including significant policy change – with the goal of ensuring that all students graduate from high school ready for college and work. • Based on pressure from above (federal law) and below (standards-based reform), the role of states in education policy has changed dramatically across the country. • The good news is that we know a fair amount of what policies are most important to achieve our education goals – from alignment to assessment to accountability to resources to human capital to student supports to school interventions – and more. • In many cases, the challenge is moving from what to how – mapping a process of state policy change – to identify core goals, audit current state policies, leverage federal requirements, identify national resources and promising practices, build public will, determine points of authority, move state policy, and then evaluate and review (as policies need to constantly evolve and improve).
Background The Objectives of our Process • Help the state define its goals, and then define what it will take to achieve those goals – the process steps, and the real cost in time and money. • Help frame some of the critical policy choices to be made, and present options that build on nationally emerging consensus areas and best practices. • Once a basic direction has been set, the process will evolve, to help all of the interested parties come together to craft solutions that really work. • Over the next few months, we hope to help the state develop a vision of what is possible – and then continue to work with the state as its efforts move from “what” to “how.”
Background The Meaning of Alignment • Alignment is about expectations: What do we expect students to know when they graduate from 12th grade, so that we can reasonably expect them to succeed in college and/or the workforce? What policies need to be in place to give them the greatest chance of meeting those expectations? • A strong consensus is emerging regarding the need to align high school standards, curriculum, assessments, accountability and professional development with college and work expectations, and the knowledge and skills necessary for success in the 21st century. If state systems are not aligned in this way, then there is no promise that even successful high school students will be prepared to succeed beyond high school. • An aligned system emphasizes connections between all levels of education: birth-to-three, preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school, college, graduate school, and the workforce. Today we will focus on the connection between high school and what comes after it. • We hope to help start an informed discussion of what strategies states have used to align their systems, where Illinois stands on these issues, and what issues and options the state should consider.
Summary What We’ve Heard -- Alignment • People are ready to discuss the kind of systemic changes you’ll hear about today. • People recognize that these are important policy areas where action may be needed, and are interested in helping to shape how it will occur – both how the process of change will be managed, and how local educators will be expected to implement state-level changes. • Local control remains a deeply held value, and will play a critical role in discussions of systemic change – but it is not the only deeply held value, and many people understand that the state may need to take an expanded role in certain areas to ensure student success state-wide. • 44% of students in Illinois higher education are enrolled in community colleges, which will accept graduates of any Illinois high school, and those students and their community colleges would benefit from increased rigor at the high school level. • People understand that if state government provides significant additional funding to the education system, it will expect more from that system.
Summary What You’ll Hear Today -- Alignment • It is time for Illinois to come to a statewide consensus about what it means to be college and work ready. If Illinois’ standards do not reflect that consensus – and they very likely will not – those standards need to change. • Illinois needs to think about alignment of curriculum implementation, assessments, and accountability system through the same prism: What does it take to get students ready for college and the workforce? • Right now, Illinois has some good pieces in place, and some progress to build on – and has a chance to move toward the kind of system it needs for all of Illinois’ students to succeed. • Illinois must craft its own solutions that are sensitive to Illinois’ unique context, but should do so cognizant of what other states and national experts have learned in the decade since Illinois last had a comprehensive discussion about standards. • There are some critical policy choices facing Illinois education in the near future, and making the right choices can lead to increased student success. • Systems should be designed to evolve and grow as needs change and lessons emerge.
Background State Data Systems • Sound data collection, reporting, and analysis are critical to building a state education system capable of ensuring all students graduate from high school ready for college and work. • Our goal in this presentation is to: • Frame the discussion of the State of Illinois data efforts within the national conversation around the elements of a highly effective state education data system; • Analyze elements that could be added to the Illinois data system to improve its effectiveness for analysis, accountability, and improvement activities; and • Provide recommendations for enhancing data use by the State, districts, educators, and students.
Summary What We’ve Heard -- Data • People acknowledge the need for and value of a high quality state education data system, but have concerns about implementation of certain elements and the use of other elements. • Concerns over adhering to privacy protection laws are serving as a major roadblock for the establishment of a state policy framework. • People are excited about the ways in which the state has begun to unlock data for use by educators, and seek to continue this trend. Concerns exist over the time, tools, and training available to educators to enable them to effectively use data to improve instruction and increase student achievement.
Summary What You’ll Hear Today -- Data • National consensus has emerged around the elements of a highly effective state education system, and resources are available to states to help build such a system. • Illinois has established a foundation for an effective longitudinal data system, and has demonstrated the commitment to build upon this foundation. Through its work in recent years, Illinois is moving out of the lowest tier of states but still has room for considerable improvement. • While privacy protection must be addressed, the state can develop strategies based upon national best practices that adhere to state and federal law. • Illinois can establish a roadmap to build a world-class data system that helps the state to achieve its educational objectives. The state needs to commit to the elements it seeks to include, and then develop priorities and action steps for each of the elements. • While building a quality data system is critical, the state must also continually focus on how it can support effective data use. Illinois can enhance the effectiveness of its existing tools, and further enable “data-driven decision-making” as elements are added to the state longitudinal data system.
I. Alignment in Illinois Michael Cohen Achieve, Inc.
College and Work Readiness Expectations Nationally, Many High School Graduates Are Unprepared for College and Work • 30% of first year students in postsecondary education are required to take remedial courses. • 40% - 45% of recent high school graduates report significant gaps in their skills, both in college and the workplace. • Faculty estimate 42% of first year students in credit-bearing courses are academically unprepared. • Employers estimate 45% of recent high school graduates lack skills to advance. • ACT estimates only half of college-bound students are ready for college-level reading.
College and Work Readiness Expectations A high school diploma is not the last educational stop required • Jobs that require at least some postsecondary education will make up more than two-thirds of new jobs. Source: Carnevale, Anthony P. and Donna M. Desrochers, Standards for What? The Economic Roots of K–16 Reform, Educational Testing Service, 2003.
College and Work Readiness Expectations Jobs in today’s workforce require more education & training Source: Carnevale, Anthony P. and Donna M. Desrochers, Standards for What? The Economic Roots of K–16 Reform, Educational Testing Service, 2003.
College and Work Readiness Expectations The Costs of Remediation Are High in Illinois • In FY 2006, Illinois community colleges provided more than $117 million worth of developmental education – 8.8% of their fiscal year 2006 net instructional costs. • Of the students taking developmental courses, 82.2% are taking developmental math – and 58.9% are taking math as their only developmental course. Source: Illinois Community College Board
Critical Alignment Areas • Standards • Curriculum Implementation 3. Assessments • Accountability
ADP Research Identifies College and Work - Readiness Skills • Initial ADP research study conducted in Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nevada and Texas. • Involved wide variety of K-12, higher education and business representatives. • Examined the work high school graduates do in the college classroom and on the job, and the preparation they needed to do the work. • Identified “must-have” knowledge and skills graduates will need to be successful in college and the workplace.
College Ready = Work Ready • ADP research found a common core of knowledge & skills in math and English that are necessary for success in postsecondary education and in “good jobs”. • ACT Study Ready for College Ready for Work: Same or Different?: “[W]hether planning to enter college or workforce training programs after graduation, high school students need to be educated to a comparable level of readiness in reading and mathematics.”
ADP Has Developed Benchmarks in English and Math • In English, the benchmarks cover: • Language • Communication • Writing • Research • Logic • Informational text • Media • Literature • Cross-cutting college/workplace tasks • In math, the benchmarks cover: • Number sense and numerical operations • Algebra • Geometry • Data interpretations, statistics and probability • Math reasoning skills • Cross-cutting college/workplace tasks
To be college and work ready, students need to complete a rigorous sequence of courses To cover the content in the ADP benchmarks, high school graduates need: • In math: • Four courses • Content equivalent to Algebra I and II, Geometry, and a fourth course such as Statistics or Precalculus • In English: • Four courses • Content equivalent to four years of grade-level English or higher (i.e., honors or AP English)
Blue-collar jobs require high level skills • Requirements for draftsmen: • Recommended high school courses include Geometry and Trigonometry. • Draftsmen may wish to seek additional study in mathematics and computer-aided design to keep up with technological progress within the industry. • Requirements for electricians: • Recommended high school courses include Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry and Physics.
ADP Research Documents an Expectations Gap • Nationally, we haven’t expected all students to graduate from high school college- and work-ready. • State standards reflect consensus about what is desirable, not what is essential. • In 2004 only two states required algebra II for graduation. • State high school graduation tests measure 8th and 9th grade knowledge and skills. • High school accountability rarely focuses on graduation rates or on college- and work-readiness.
Nationwide, Colleges and High Schools Disagree About Whether Standards Are Rigorous Enough Percentage of respondents answering that standards prepared students “well” or “very well.” Source: ACT, Aligning Postsecondary Expectations and High School Practice: The Gap Defined
Knowing What They Know Today, High School Graduates Would Have Worked Harder ADP Research Source: Peter D. Hart Research Associates/Public Opinion Strategies, Rising to the Challenge: Are High School Graduates Prepared for College and Work? prepared for Achieve, Inc., 2005.
If High School Had Demanded More, Graduates Would Have Worked Harder ADP Research • Would have worked harder • Strongly feel I would have worked harder • Wouldn’t have worked harder High school graduates who went to college High school graduates who did not go to college Source: Peter D. Hart Research Associates/Public Opinion Strategies, Rising to the Challenge: Are High School Graduates Prepared for College and Work? prepared for Achieve, Inc., 2005.
The Majority of High School Graduates Would Have Taken Harder Courses ADP Research Knowing what you know today about the expectations of college/work … Would have taken more challenging courses in at least one area Math Science English Source: Peter D. Hart Research Associates/Public Opinion Strategies, Rising to the Challenge: Are High School Graduates Prepared for College and Work? prepared for Achieve, Inc., 2005.
Closing the Expectations Gap: ADP Policies • Align high school standards and assessments with the knowledge and skills required for success in postsecondary education and work. • Administer a college- and work-ready assessment, aligned to state standards, to high school students so they get clear and timely information and are able to address critical skill deficiencies while still in high school. • Require all students to take a college- and work-ready curriculum to earn a high school diploma. • Hold high schools accountable for graduating students who are college ready, and hold postsecondary institutions accountable for their success once enrolled.
Aligning Standards • Align high school standards and assessments with the knowledge and skills required for success in postsecondary education and work. • College-ready standards developed jointly by K-12 and postsecondary education, with employer participation. • Adopted by K-12 and higher education governing bodies. • Incorporated in high school curriculum, graduation requirements and assessments. • Incorporated in postsecondary assessments and practices used for placing students in entry-level coursework. • Support implementation of standards in the classroom with tools and professional development.
Aligning High School Standards with the Demands of College and Work –Achieve’s Status Report
Where Do Illinois’ Standards Stand? • In 1999, at the request of the State Board of Education, Achieve, Inc. benchmarked Illinois’ standards. Achieve found that: • The standards could be more clear, specific, and detailed. • There is important content missing from the standards. • In some cases, the standards are repeated throughout the grades, making progression of learning and mastery of skills difficult to determine. • The standards underestimate what students as capable of at certain grade levels, and lower-level skills sometimes are emphasized at the expense of higher level thinking skills. • Since 1999, the “state of the art” in standards has improved nationwide. But Illinois’ standards have not been comprehensively updated.
How is Illinois Implementing Standards? • It is essential that Illinois have high-quality standards reflecting what its high school graduates need to know for college and the workforce. But to be meaningful, those standards must be used. • The fact that standards are written in the Illinois regulations means nothing unless: • Educators are trained to use them effectively, and are given the conditions to do so. • Those well-trained educators actually implement the standards. • Assessments fairly measure the content required by the standards.
How is Illinois Implementing Standards? • Eight years after Illinois’ standards were first adopted, most high schools were still in the process of transitioning them in. • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will release a report next month, “Evaluation of the Implementation of the Illinois Learning Standards,” showing that the standards are not fully implemented. • The UIUC study, funded by ISBE, identifies five levels of standards implementation: 1. Maintenance of a Non-Standards-Led System 2. Awareness and Exploration of a Standards-Led System 3. Transition to a Standards-Led System 4. Emerging New Infrastructure to Support a Standards- Led System 5. Predominance of a Standards-Led System
How are Illinois High Schools Implementing Standards? • According to the survey, in 2006 no high schools are beyond level 3. By contrast, 16% of elementary schools are already at level 4. Elementary Schools High Schools Middle Schools Source: UIUC Illinois Learning Standards study.
What Happens When Standards are Implemented? • The good news: Where standards are being implemented, they’re making a difference. • According to the UIUC study, “the dimensions of ILS implementation . . . that correlated with the percentages of fifth and eighth graders who met or exceeded standards on ISAT reading and math were significant predictors. Regression analyses showed that these dimensions n accounted for a significant portion of variance beyond that explained by attendance rate and the percentage of low-income students.” (emphasis added) • This makes sense, given that the assessments are based on the current standards.
Educators and Curriculum Implementation • Standards implementation requires two levels of support at the school level. The first level is building-level support to create a culture supportive of standards-based education, and that teachers have the time needed to implement the standards collaboratively. The second level is teacher-level supports to ensure that teachers of individual courses have the content depth necessary to teach the standards. • Teacher preparation and professional development must focus on ensuring that students are learning the material in the standards. • Implementing standards also requires Illinois to think about the quality of teachers teaching the standards. High quality teachers are distributed unequally in Illinois, a systemic problem the state has worked to overcome. And we know that when disadvantaged students have access to quality teachers, it makes a difference.
In Illinois, Teacher Quality Significantly Affects Outcomes for Low Income Students Distribution of College Readiness by High School TQI (Low Income Students Only) Source: Illinois Education Research Council
Implementing Standards Requires the Right Courses • In addition to ensuring that educators are equipped to implement the standards, the state must look at how the material in the standards are delivered to students: through courses. • ADP research has shown that in math and English, certain courses are necessary to ensure that students are ready for college and the workforce.
College- and Work-Ready Graduation Requirements ADP Recommendation: Require all students to take a college- and work-ready curriculum aligned with standards to graduate from high school. In math: • Four courses • Content equivalent to Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and a fourth course such as Statistics or Precalculus In English: • Four courses • Content equivalent to four years of grade-level English or higher (i.e., honors or AP English)
College- and Work-Ready Graduation Requirements A strong high school curriculum improves college completion and narrows gaps. *Completing at least Algebra II plus other courses. Source: Adapted from Adelman, Clifford, U.S. Department of Education, Answers in the Toolbox, 1999.
College- and Work-Ready Graduation Requirements Low achieving students learn more in rigorous courses. *Grades 8–12 test score gains based on 8th grade achievement. Source:U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Vocational Education in the United States: Toward the Year 2000,in Issue Brief: Students Who Prepare for College and Vocation.
States with College- & Work-Ready Graduation Requirements – Achieve Status Report
States with College- & Work-Ready Graduation Requirements • Eight states have made core curriculum the default option. • 9th graders are automatically placed into college- and work-prep course of study, but can “opt out” into less rigorous course of study with parental and school permission. • Five states require all students to complete college- and work-ready course of study.
Illinois Universities Require More Courses For Admission Than Illinois High Schools Are Required to Provide (Even Post-PA 94-676) Note: The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and Illinois State University both have higher requirements in the “other” category. Some programs at UIUC also require 3.5 years of math.
Illinois Students Get Mixed Messages About What Math Courses Are Necessary – And None of the Messages Are Strong Enough Math requirements
College- and Work-Ready Assessments • California State University System – augmented state high school assessment. • Texas and New York uses higher-than-passing cut score on high school graduation exam. • Illinois, Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan and others use the ACT as part of high school assessment system. • Nine states are preparing to use an end-of-course exam in Algebra II.